Amnesty says Egypt tycoon jailed in abuse of terror laws
Monday, September 27, 2021       23:35 WIB

Beirut, Sept 27, 2021 (AFP)
Amnesty International on Monday accused Egypt of detaining a leading businessman to "blackmail" him, in what it termed an abuse of anti-terrorism laws.
It cited growing health concerns for Safwan Thabet, the 75-year-old founder and former CEO of household dairy brand Juhayna.
The conditions of his 10-month solitary confinement and that of his 40-year-old son Seif, arrested in February, amounted to "torture", the London-based group said.
"Safwan and Seif Thabet are being punished simply for daring to defy demands by Egyptian security officials to hand over their family's assets in the company Juhayna," charged Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa head.
"They have shown rare courage in resisting the officials' attempt to blackmail them," he added.
Interviews with three people familiar with the firm and the Thabet family as well as a review of court documents showed they were being coerced, according to Amnesty.
As in cases of political dissent, "Egyptian authorities are using the same tactic (anti-terrorism laws) to target businesspeople who refuse to comply with their arbitrary seizure orders", Luther said.
Thabet was arrested last December and charged with joining and financing the banned Muslim Brotherhood, branded a terror group in 2013.
Publicly-listed Juhayna's share price tumbled by 17 percent after the arrest of Seif Thabet, the company's CEO at the time.
The targeting of the Thabets dates back to 2015 when they were added to a "terror watchlist" of 1,500 people with alleged ties to the Brotherhood that included prominent personalities such as Egyptian soccer legend Mohamed Aboutrika.
Since taking office, Sisi has overseen a sweeping crackdown on dissent, with rights groups estimating that Egypt holds about 60,000 political prisoners.
Sisi this month launched a "national strategy" for human rights while taking aim at international rights groups, accusing them of not taking into account the "challenges facing the country".

Sumber : AFP